Wednesday, 19 September 2007

Vodafone/Orange Joint Venture Announcement - RAN Sharing and Outsourcing

Following conference calls earlier today with Jeni Mundy, Chief Technology Officer, Vodafone UK , Connect members in Regional Operations will be aware that Vodafone has announced that they are looking for an outsourcing partner to maintain their Radio Access Network.

Clearly this announcement will be of concern to our members, particularly in Field Operations.

As the recognised union for members in Regional Operations North and South, Connect has been contacted by the business to discuss this announcement. Although no contract has been signed with an outsource partner and little detail has been given at this stage we will be meeting with the company over the coming months to assess the likely impact of the changes on employees and to represent the views of our members on what will be a difficult time. The Connect representatives that will come from the election process that we are currently undergoing will be fully involved in consultations.

As you'll be aware, in Regional Operations North and South we are able to represent people affected by the proposed changes as the recognised union for H, I and J grades. As the business looks to reduce costs it is important that members across Vodafone give themselves the opportunity to have formal union representation through supporting our organising work by talking to and recruiting their colleagues. You can find out more about this work by contacting our team.

Tuesday, 18 September 2007

Vodafone and Connect Agree on Recognition

Vodafone and Connect have concluded an agreement for union recognition. The agreement provides a framework for negotiations and for elected representatives across Regional Operations North and South.

Vodafone and Connect now have a basis for working together in negotiations over pay, hours and holidays and in consultation over other key employment issues. The structure for negotiations will include representatives elected from among Connect members in both Regional Operations North and Regional Operations South, who will be supported by Connect. The agreement will ensure that Connect representatives can get the training and paid time off work whch they will need to carry out their union responsibilities.

Connect has opened the process for nominating and electing representatives from within Vodafone Regional Operations.

Wednesday, 12 September 2007

T-Mobile Workers Hit By Outsourcing

T-Mobile has named Ericsson as the supplier for the outsourcing of their Field Operations division. On this blog we usually concentrate on Vodafone however it is useful to be aware of activities affecting union members elsewhere in the telecoms industry as Vodafone are often a trend follower.

T-mobile have started the process of consulting workers however the consultation period has been cut from 90 to 30 days, which demonstrates how little value the company place in consulting with it’s employees about important issues such as job security and pensions.

T-Mobile previously committed to giving workers 6 months “job security” however when Hutchinson 3G staff were transferred to Ericsson they were guaranteed a job for 2 years. There is a defined benefit pension scheme on the table but this falls well short of the scheme currently provided by T-mobile.

Connect don’t currently have union recognition in T-mobile so the union is providing all the advice and support possible. Hopefully enough workers will join in the next few weeks to allow a recognition claim as by negotiating collectively the workers bargaining position is much stronger.

In Vodafone our Combined Field Force teams are covered by Connect’s recognition in Regional Operations North and South. With outsourcing operations now been discussed as part of the Orange/Vodafone shared business unit this could be vital.

Outsourcing does seem to be the current flavour in Vodafone so it’s vital that we get union recognition in as many areas of the company as possible. If you’re not already a member of Connect join the fight for a real voice in your workplace today.

Tuesday, 11 September 2007

TUC General Secretary praises Connect recognition in Vodafone

Brendan Barber's opening remarks to the TUC Congress included a reference to our recognition win in Vodafone. With reference to critics of modern-day trade unionism, The TUC's General Secretary said:

"To those who say Trade Unions are a relic of a bygone age, stuck in the past, somehow irrelevant to the concerns and aspirations of the 21st century workforce, let us say;

You are wrong, wrong on every count.

Try telling that to workers at Vodafone who have just voted for union recognition for Connect. Proof that Trade Unionism can not only survive but thrive in the private sector service economy"

Congratulations again to our Vodafone members on their achievement, which is of importance not only to us here at Connect but the British Trade Union Movement as a whole.

Friday, 7 September 2007

No Michelin Stars for Vodafone Restaurant

When Vodafone’s office facilities around the country were refurbished 3 years ago we were promised that for the first time staff would be able to enjoy a decent meal on campus at a subsidised price that would make this an attractive option everyday of the week.

However in true Vodafone style corners were cut and catering facilities are now one of the most common issues that members raise with their Connect reps.

Typically the “Hot” (slightly warm) offering consists of something reminisant of a McCain’s oven ready meal and will set you back around £5-6 a go. The sandwiches seem to invariably contain grapes or other fruits alongside the expected cold meat, perhaps some people enjoy roast beef with fruit salad but judging by what remains on the shelves at 1.30 it’s not those who eat at the Vodafone canteen!

For a simple sandwich Vodafone’s tariff can set you back up to £4. Where the subsidy goes is hard to ascertain, if we didn’t know that the company loves it’s workers so much it may have been suggested that in fact they’re making a couple of extra quid by taking advantage of a captive audience for the Vodafone dining experience.

When visiting the Newbury Business Park site after loading your paper plate with the meal of the day (The chef knows how to “cook” 5 meals affectionately known as Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday) you join the long queue.

Those lucky enough to get an hour for lunch are likely to reach the till, but a thought must be spared for those workers from departments where the DTI’s suggested best practice is ignored and only a ½ hour lunch break is allowed.

The seating is inspired by McDonalds to give a quick turnaround of tables. Sit down for more than a few minuets and you’re likely to need a chiropractor. This barely gives enough time to admire the autographed sports shirts on the wall. There’s a shirt autographed by the England cricket team that LOST the Ashes, and pride of place must go to the shirt signed by Newbury’s second division rugby team.

This isn’t the worst eating establishment in the Vodafone portfolio. The current holder of this most coveted prize is Hayes RMC. Here the penthouse canteen provides a balcony with excellent views of the A4, M4, canal, railway and the added bonus of a plane passing around 100 feet overhead ever 2 minuets on the way to Heathrow. Arrive at 12.00 and you’re likely to be greeting by 2 remaining sandwiches, at least one of which will be cheese and grape. Fortunately there’s a Tesco close by….

We want to hear more about the catering facilities at your Vodafone site. Connect In Vodafone is offering a prize (The toy from a McDonald’s happy meal) for the worst dinning experience in Vodafone.

Thursday, 6 September 2007

The Connect Newbury Summer Party!

Following the floods… The Postponed Connect Summer Party!

Connect & the Vodafone reps are throwing the 2007 Connect Summer Party in Newbury -Enjoy a free buffet & drink on arrival, Good Music & Excellent Entertainment

Celebrate our massive success in winning recognition in Regional Ops, meet your reps & find out about what Connect is doing in Service Ops

Thursday 13th September 2007, 5.30pm onwards, The Hogshead (Function Room), Newbury Town Centre.

Open to all Vodafone workers, Just turn up on the door!

MP congratulates Vodafone members on recognition

Connect member and MP John Robertson has written to congratulate the union and its Vodafone members on winning recognition.

John writes: 'Congratulations to you and the staff at Connect who have worked tirelessly over the last few years for trade union recognition within Vodafone. This is a fantastic achievement and all your hard work and dedication, and that of the Executive, has finally paid off.

'I am sure the employees of Vodafone will welcome their new relationship with Connect and I look forward with Connect and Vodafone in conjunction with the newly formed apComms. Please pass my congratulations to all involved in this.'

John is the Labour MP for Glasgow North West and joint Chair of the all party parliamentary group on communications, known as apComms for short.